The Heian Period

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The first periodisation of the Heian period marked the height of imperial rule in Japan. This sub-period saw the imperial government promulgating several important political reforms designed to strengthen the state. According to historians, the reigns of Emperor Kammu (737-806) and his three successors oversaw an aggressive consolidation of power to secure the hegemony of the imperial family in Japanese society (Hall, 1970; Mason and Caiger, 1997; Beasley, 1999; McCullough, 1999a; Hurst, 2007; Walker, 2015). This move was necessary because a series of counter-measures were introduced to ensure power firmly rested with the Chrysanthemum throne. More importantly, this periodisation oversaw the formation of a distinct imperial court centred in

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